Blog Posts

Need to Work

I would very much like a job. I really would. I would like to have something to do with my time. That’s one of the things about depression, or at least with my depression. Not having something to do makes it worse. Holidays are something entirely different. Not having to do something is entirely different to not having something to do. Isn’t it funny how a simple rearrangement of words can change the meaning entirely?

Depression and anxiety are things that affect different people differently. In one of my recent blogs I talked about how everyone should take advice with a grain of salt. What works great for someone else won’t necessarily work well for them. And I cannot stress enough how important that is to keep in mind. I am not currently seeing a psych, and one of my main reasons for that is that I haven’t found the right one for me yet. The ones I have found have mostly tried me on CBT. Cognitive Behavioural Treatment is one of the big trends in psychology at the moment. It’s hardly the be all and end all, and it’s definitely not for me.

A lot of CBT is about recognising your behaviour, and trying to change it, or change how you see it. Maybe if I weren’t already hyper aware about every little thing I do, it might have helped me? Or maybe I just don’t have the right mindset to get behind it. Either way, it hasn’t worked for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to tell people not to try it. (Nor will I say that if you haven’t already tried it you should definitely try it. It’s not for everyone, and you should seriously take some time to think about whether or not it’s right for you, or you think it might be beneficial to you, before you try it or not.)

I’m already rambling and getting off track. It’s a good thing I’m currently trying to keep this as a personal opinion and experience blog rather than something overly political or professional. I mean, hey, maybe if I upped my game and made really professional posts I could woo in potential employers. Well, unlikely with my meagre reach, although perhaps people might be more inclined to share it.

Though, again, not what I’m trying to get at. Which goes to show how bad my mental state is at the moment. I’m an absolute mess. Why? Because trying to find employment is incredibly stressful and depressing.

It doesn’t help that I’ve got restrictions. There are some things that I know I just won’t be able to do, thanks to my anxiety limiting me. I could never work in retail, for one, when I know just how stressful those jobs can be. Nor could I do something with high KPI requirements, or that’s extremely commission based. There are other people out there who can take on those jobs, who won’t burst into tears at a raised voice when someone isn’t 100% happy and decides to take it out on a retail worker. Someone who won’t panic and feel their throat closing up when they realise they need to make ten more sales in order to just keep their job. Who won’t spend their break picking at their skin, their nails, or pulling their hair, because they’re just not sure that they’re doing well enough that week to make rent.

There are jobs out there that I know I could do. I would like to think that I’m a great writer. I’m quite a good communicator. I’m a very pleasant person. As much as I’d be incredibly nervous to go to an interview right now, I’d love at least that chance to put myself forward, to prove to employers that I can do what they’re asking. That I’m capable, and a quick learner, and that it wouldn’t take much for me to be able to fit in to almost any work place.

Instead I am just applying for jobs, left right and centre, and finding myself sick to the stomach every time I get a new email from Seek telling me that my application with such and such a company won’t progress. It certainly doesn’t help that there’s no reason for the companies to tell me why my application won’t progress. They don’t need to take time out of their day to tell me that I’m the most inexperienced candidate they had, that they just weren’t quite sure about me from my resume, that they felt I might be bored in the role with my qualification.

I mean, I can hardly expect them to. What Seek does offer, are some insights to the jobs I applied for. It shows me how many people applied, how many attached a resume, and how many attached a cover letter.

I’m one of those who attaches both. I try to tailor my cover letter, because I genuinely want every job I apply for. I don’t see the point in applying for one that I’m not interested in. I know many people (particularly those who fill the 1% who don’t attach resumes, or the larger 20~% who don’t attach cover letters) are only applying for those jobs because they have to. I am not one of those. I want employment. I want to work. To do something with my life. I don’t want to just skate by on Centrelink. Even if I didn’t want to have something to do with my time, I would want work for nothing more than to be able to have some actual money that I could spend.

So, I look through my emails, and I see: 205 people applied. 115 matched all the employers requirements. (I did not, because I had no experience in such a role). 844 applied. 62% attached a cover letter. (No experience preference listed for which I was explicitly rejected.) 203 candidates applied. 65% attached cover letters. 175 people matched all the employer’s criteria. (I also matched their criteria. No rejection for lack of experience here. At least, not explicitly.)

23 candidates applied for the role. Only 6 matched the employers criteria. I did not, because I have no experience in the publishing industry, and apparently didn’t hit their “magic number” for salary expectation. (Is it bad that I honestly have no idea what to expect? At this point, I don’t care. Pay me enough for me to have a roof over my head that doesn’t leak, food for myself and my cat, with enough left over to pay bills. I haven’t had a job before, “salary” means very little to me.)

The most positive response I’ve had recently unfortunately ended up being something that was just impossible for me to achieve at the moment. I got through the first few tests to be a captioner with a company, only to reach the hurdle of the interview. I would have loved to attend, if only I would be able to get to Melbourne by the morning of two days after I was told I had the interview. Getting a flight to Melbourne would have been doable (barely). Accommodation when I got there on such short notice? A fair bit less so. Long term accommodation should I have done well in the interview and gotten the job? Doable, but fiddly on, again, such short notice. Flight back up if I didn’t do so well in the interview? Not so doable. I had to think long and hard about it on Monday when I found out I had gotten the interview. It would have been a great opportunity that I would have loved to go for. Unfortunately, given I currently have a grand total of $300 in my savings, because for those of you who aren’t aware, it is very hard to save when you’re on Centrelink, it wasn’t really worth going down for the interview. Given I couldn’t do it over the phone for whatever reason (I asked, they said they had something that “had to be done in person”) and I would have been reliant on the interview working out to make it possible for me to even temporarily move down to Melbourne, I had to turn it down.

So, yes, I’m not in the best of headspaces right now. Each rejection hurts, and given I have to keep applying for jobs, both to keep being paid by Centrelink, and to potentially get hired by one of the many jobs I’m applying for, I am not likely to be in a good headspace any time soon. I wanted to look into more of the factors that make it really hard for people to get jobs, but this ended up being a very rambling and personal story. It did however get across one of the points that I wanted to make, which is just how many people are applying for jobs. With companies being overwhelmed by so many applications, it’s inevitable that a lot of people have to lose out. It just hurts that I don’t even make it as far as getting to sell myself in person with an interview. That, and not getting feedback really brings me down. I try to put my best self forward, only to be turned down without explanation. Of course, I can hardly blame companies like the one that likely rejected hundreds of applicants and weeded down to a couple of dozen of the most qualified for the interview process. Just because I can’t blame them doesn’t mean it helps my mental state, however.

Blog Posts

Christmas (Part 1)

I’m not Christian. My family isn’t Christian. Nevertheless, we seem to belong to what feels to be the majority of Australians who celebrate the “Christian” holiday known as Christmas. Similarly, we’ve celebrated Easters, and Halloween, all holidays that are highly celebrated throughout the West thanks to Christianity’s pervasiveness.

It’s hilarious when you realise that these Christian holidays weren’t Christian at all to begin with, but instead so called “Pagan”. So called Pagan because that’s the term Christian’s used to categorise anyone who wasn’t Christian.

I could talk about the ridiculousness of Easter, based on Ostara, which worships a fertility Goddess, and how all the symbols we commonly think of as defining Easter, such as eggs, are actually symbols of fertility. What do eggs have to do with reincarnation? What does a bunny have to do with the son of God? Meanwhile, eggs are the unborn, waiting to be fertilised to come into the world. Rabbits, or bunnies, are creatures commonly known for their fertility, having many kittens in a litter, and breeding quite rapidly.

I could discuss Samhain, the day when the Wiccans believed the veil between this world and the next was thinnest. When the dead would walk amongst the living freely, an idea on its own which stands fundamentally against what Christians try to believe in.

But, it’s December. It’s the time of year Christians, Agnostics, and any number of other people, all celebrate Christmas.

Supposedly, according to Christians, somewhat over 2000 years ago, on the 25th of December, the son of God was born. I won’t argue the existence of Jesus. I don’t need people screaming at me for insensitivity, or anti-Christian messages. One thing I will state however, is that Jesus wasn’t born in December. I doubt anyone today knows the exact date. Or would be able to discover it. Not without some insane technology that we haven’t invented yet, at least. Or some evidence we haven’t found yet.

No one knows when Jesus was born, but we do know why Christians opted for claiming sometime in December. This is because it was this time of year when ancient Romans would celebrate the festival of Saturnalia, dedicated to the God Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture, and attributed to the Titan Cronus in ancient Greek mythology. In Rome, Saturnalia was the liveliest festival of the year, the date connected with the winter sowing season.

Saturnalia isn’t the only non-Christian holiday which influenced what we now know as Christmas today. While Saturnalia was about joy, festivity, and merriment, there was also Yule, a Germanic tradition which celebrated the shortest day of the year. Traditionally, evergreens were cut and brought indoors, a symbol of life, rebirth, and renewal. Holly decorated doors, windows, and fireplaces, a protection against evil spirits. Mistletoe represented fertility, and provided protection against thunder, lightning, and other evils.

There are many other activities and symbols associated with Yule which Christians began to use for their own holiday. After all, what does a tree have to do with the birth of the son of God? What do candles, or bells, wreathes, elves, or gingerbread have to do with Christianity, and the celebration of a birthday?

It almost seems common knowledge to me now, yet I know there are still many other there who don’t know the origins of what is now called Christmas. That people believe Christianity to be the origin of these traditions and festivities, when they merely borrowed from other beliefs and cultures.

The most Christian thing belonging to Christmas is Santa Claus, who was derived from Saint Nicholas, a kind bishop in the fourth century. His story is the origin of Stockings hung by the fireplace, and of giving. It wasn’t until later, when Saint Nicholas became unpopular, that his idea was replaced with Santa Claus, and the idea of giving gifts became more pervasive.

Currently, Christmas is something often only really celebrated by children. By those who believe in the man in his bright red coat with his friendly face and rather rotund belly. It’s those children, who go to sleep on Christmas Eve, eagerly awaiting when they wake, to look under the tree and see all those presents addressed to them. While gift exchanging is hardly something reserved for the young, it’s the young who certainly enjoy it most. Much as it is they who enjoy decorating trees, or carolling.

I believe there are a great many reasons why people become less enthusiastic about Christmas as they grow older. Very little of it actually has to do with the disillusionment around the myth of Santa Claus. Instead, it’s more closely associated with probability, and the general disenfranchisement people my age have towards holidays, caused mostly by a combination of low employment rates, low wages, and high prices.

Let’s face it, on a holiday about giving, you can feel rather horrible when you aren’t able to afford things to give to those who mean something to you in your life. I know I for one feel rather guilty this time of year, when my friends usually have something to give to me, and I’m lucky if I have anything to be able to give them in return.

As for how probability leads to people being unhappy around this time of year, I shall continue with that conversation next week.